UPDATE: Gov. Evers directs Department of Health Services to issue Safer At Home order

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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU)-- Wisconsin is one of 17 states in the United States to now implement an order urging people to stay at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The 'Safer At Home' order in Wisconsin will take effect March 25 at 8 a.m. and last until April 24 at 8 a.m., unless there is a superseding order issued.

Starting Wednesday, life will once again change for Wisconsinites as the state tries to get a handle on the COVID-19 outbreak.

"The bottom line is that COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, a rapidly evolving situation sometimes changing by the hour. That means that sometimes our responses have to change as we have more information," said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.

Tuesday Evers ordered the Department of Health Services to sign the 'Safer At Home' order.

The governor says this is a critical moment in Wisconsin, and everyone needs to do their part.

"As the governor said, this decision was not made lightly but it has become necessary to stem the tide of COVID-19. It was made by listening to the advice of our public health experts and it is abundantly clear that you are safer at home," said Wisconsin DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

There are seven categories included in the order, telling Wisconsinites to stay at home, non-essential businesses must close, prohibits gatherings of any kind, closes all schools, salons, spas and places of public amusement, as well as travel deemed not essential.

The order is enforceable by any local law enforcement agency, and is punishable by 30 days imprisonment or a fine up to $250.

"No people will not be pulled over and asked. The order does not require people to have certifications or to have proof that they're on essential travel. That said, we do hope that because of the urgency of this situation that everybody does their part and chips in," explains Chief Legal Counsel for the Office of the Governor Ryan Nilsestuen. "That they take this situation seriously and that they stay at home as much as possible."

A big question for people Monday was what businesses were going to be determined as essential.

Governor Evers said that his team was creating that list into Tuesday.

Businesses that can continue to be open during the order include places that sell groceries or medicine, restaurants and bars for take out or delivery, child care, mail services, among numerous others.

"Obviously we want a strong economy, who the hell doesn't. But the fact of the matter is we have to value human life at some point at a higher level. I think we can do both and that's what this order is all about," said Evers.

People can leave their houses for certain situations, including outdoor activities like walks, to take care of others, and to get necessary supplies and services.

To read more about the Safer At Home order, please see related documents on the right.

MADISON, Wis. (WEAU)-- Gov. Evers directed the Department of Health Services Secretary- designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer At Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel.

The order is effective 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 25 and will remain in effect until 8 a.m. Friday, April 24, or until a superseding order is issued.

The order also says individuals will not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must comply with this order as to when its permissible to leave home..

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to:

Health care operations, including home health workers;
Critical infrastructure;
Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks;
Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;
Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;
Child care facilities, with some limitations;
Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;
Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians;
Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;
Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll; and
Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

To read more about the Safer At Home order, please see related documents on the right.